Renting from a Housing Association or Local Authority
A number of people with learning disabilities rent their home through their local authority or a housing association. Some local authorities have specific properties for people with learning disabilities to rent as part of a package, with support workers visiting the property at specific times. This type of housing tends to be shared with other people with learning disabilities, often between 2 – 5 people.
Renting via your local authority can be one of the most straight-forward options, particularly if there is already an existing service. However, your relative may have less control over who to live with and who provides support. Local provision can also vary. Your local housing department can give you more information.
Renting from a private landlord
Property can be rented from a private landlord. The rent can be paid for by Local Housing Allowance, though this may not meet the full costs meaning sometimes a top up needs to be made by the tenant (or tenants family). You may be able to find a property more quickly on the rental market, but there is less security of tenancy and contracts are often more short-term.
Shared Ownership combines renting and owning a property. This means you part own and part rent a property, usually from a housing association. The share of the home you own ranges from 25% to 75%. Housing Benefit can pay for the part of the home that is rented.
Buy to let scheme
Buy to let involves purchasing or building a property, then renting it out. The property can be part of your current property; for example, you could build the property in your garden or extend your current home. The person who owns the property will often act as the landlord.
A family buy to let can affect eligibility for Housing Benefit though. In some instances, it is possible to hand over the day to day running of a buy to let property to an intermediary landlord such as Golden Lane Housing. In this type of arrangement, it may be possible to rent to a family member without affecting Housing benefit. See the benefits section on our website or contact our benefits advisers for more information.
Purchasing a property
Some families decide to purchase a property outright, as it can provide greater control and security over the housing. This depends on individual financial circumstances and being able to locate a suitable property.
If you are unable to purchase a property individually, you may wish to choose to purchase a property jointly with other families. This can reduce costs and provides a support network of families working together. However, such a setup is reliant on knowing local families in a similar situation. You will also need to think carefully about how it will work in practice, for example, planning ahead for the possibility that one of the families involved may withdraw from the arrangement. MySafeHome specialise in arranging mortgages for people with learning disabilities to support with Shared Ownership and would be a good place to find out more information.
Which option is right?
What works will depend on what’s available in your area, personal preferences
and individual financial circumstances. You can contact your local authority’s housing department for more information. You can also find more resources and information on housing options on the Learning Disability England website: www.housingandsupport.org.uk